What Does Trust In God Look Like Practically?

“Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8)

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The idea of trusting God can be somewhat etherial and mystical, but this verse puts “feet” to our trust in God. It shows us what trusting God looks like practically. That’s why it’s one of my favorite verses in the Psalms. I’ll explain.

We see here very clearly that one way our trust in God is practically expressed is through prayer. Let’s look at the verse together.

The first line of Psalm 62:8 reads “Trust in him at all times, O people.” So, in this verse, the psalmist is obviously speaking about trusting God. That’s the main idea. The exhortation is to trust in the LORD.

But notice how the psalmist expands on the first line as he moves to the second line: “pour out your heart before him.” This line is obviously speaking about prayer. So, the idea of the first exhortation being expanded by the second is that one way trusting in God is expressed is through prayer.

The third line, then, expands on the first and the second with this truth: “God is a refuge for us.” So, if we want to know what trust in God looks like practically, here it is:

Prayer is an active, practical way in which we as believers put our trust in God and take refuge in Him.

The Realness of Believing Prayer

What encourages me the most about this verse, though, is how the Lord encourages us to be real with him:

“Pour out your heart before him.”

If you pour something out, sometimes it’s because you’re wanting to get rid of it, right? (Think of pouring old milk out into the sink). And if you spill something, it can be messy. At other times, pouring something out can be because the fragrance is pleasing to us or helpful in some way (think of pouring aromatic essential oils out into a container to fill a room with fragrance).

Isn’t it encouraging to think that God invites us, through the psalmist’s exhortation, to pour out our hearts before him?

This means that we can come to God with anything and everything and lay it all before him through open and honest prayer. We can cast our burdens on him; we can tell him all our troubles; we can confess to him all of our sins; we can express all our concerns; we can communicate all our cares; and we can pour out all the good and the bad stored up in our hearts to the One who can handle it all and who can help us.

God welcomes us to be real with him. What a kindness! What a grace!

In fact, this type of realness, this pouring out of our hearts, is how we practically express our trust in him. I don’t know about you, but this verse moves prayer out of the chore list and onto the joy list for me; it encourages me to pray.

Converse with the Lord as you would the best of friends.

What joys and victories, temptations and struggles, anxieties and difficulties, are you facing today? Tell it all to the Lord in open and honest prayer and watch what he can do for you. “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts before him, for God is a refuge for us”.

Expect More From God

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“For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance.” Matthew 13:12

This is happy news for every believer in Christ! Here’s why.

For to the one who has, more will be given.

Have you received the glorious gift of salvation? Then, you can expect that more will be given and you will have an abundance of grace. “He who did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

Has God shown mercy to you? Then, you can expect that his mercies will be renewed to you each morning, so great is his faithfulness (Lam. 3:21-23).

Have you been justified by His grace? Then expect to be sanctified, as well. “It is to the Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8).

Christ will distinguish his own. To the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance.

    Could this be? Could God be so gracious?

    Could the spring once opened to me never run dry?

    Could the fountain of grace that has renewed my soul really be ever-flowing?

Yes, it is true! God is this gracious.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

The receiving of mercy from God should inflame an eager expectation for more of his mercy and grace.

This is remarkable. You have received mercy from God, and here’s what you can now expect: MORE MERCY!

Let past mercies foster future faith to anticipate more from your gracious God.

Come, and ask for more. He really is that gracious.

Jesus said,

“Ask and you shall receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you Fathers, if your son asked for a fish would give him a snake, or if he asked for an egg would give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask?” (Luke 11:9-10).

Upheld by grace, daily, let us rest in the goodness of God’s everlasting love and exclaim with the psalmist:

“Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all of the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)

The Pathway to Perfect Peace

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“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” – Isaiah 26:3

There is a strong correlation between the mind and the heart. Here’s what I mean.

The mind’s contemplations and the heart’s affections are revealed to be interwoven throughout the pages of Scripture.

In this passage in Isaiah, we see that to trust in God involves keeping our minds fixed on God. The one whose mind is stayed on the LORD is shown to be the one whose heart trusts in the LORD, and that trust leads to perfect peace.

The Apostle Paul speaks in a similar fashion in Colossians when he writes,

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things, for you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3)

The mind and the heart, then, are inseparable. What we believe in our minds determines how we live in our actions, which flows from what we set our hearts on.

What a promise we have here in Isaiah!

There is a potential for perfect peace

Perfect peace is promised in this passage to those who keep their minds stayed on the LORD, because the keeping of the mind on the LORD is an expression, a sign, an indicator that one’s trust is in the LORD.

How can we grow in trusting God today? – By filling our minds with the truths of God, His sovereignty, His holiness, His wisdom, His power, His immutability, His Omniscience, His Omnipotence, and most importantly His great love for us in Christ.

In keeping our minds stayed, fixed, settled on Who God Is, we will enjoy peace within our souls. Our hearts will trust in Him and we will enjoy the promise of perfect peace.

God, in Christ, IS the pathway to perfect peace.

Breathe

Pleasure of a life

In a recent sermon at Redeeming Grace Church, Dave Odom communicated that “grace is like an oxygen mask for the soul.” When we receive God’s grace, our souls can breathe again, and we begin to truly live – maybe for the first time.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

God loves to bestow His grace on needy sinners, and He is rich in mercy.

It’s one thing to be rich, it’s quite another thing to be rich and generous. Not only is our God rich in mercy, He is also generous with His mercy.

Because of his great love, He lavishly grants His mercy and grace to desperate sinners in need.

He takes us from being dead in sin, makes us alive together with Christ, raises us up with him and seats us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Through no merit of our own, God graciously redeems us from death to life to royalty as heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). That’s amazing grace and mercy.

This is what causes the soul, even the dead soul, to breathe again.

And the good news is that there is enough mercy and grace for all of us in Christ.

Enjoy grace, and breathe!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. (Psalm 23:6)

One of the Most Encouraging Proverbs in All of Scripture

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Another work week is inching toward its close, and I’m clinging to this truth from God’s Word:

“All hard work brings a profit” (Proverbs 14:23).

To me this is one of the most encouraging Proverbs in Scripture.

By the grace of God, I’ve worked hard this week. I’ve split my time at work between recruiting, business development, marketing, networking, and administration. At home, I’ve had the privilege of serving my family and serving our church bi-vocationally. In all of this, I know that I am completely dependent on God to bless my efforts. Unless the Lord builds the house, all my labor is in vain (Psalm 127:1). I’m trusting the LORD that He will cause the rain to fall on the fields I’ve plowed, the sun to shine on the seeds I’ve sown, and that he will bless my efforts to bring forth fruit from all my labors (1 Cor. 3:7 – God is the One who gives the growth).

That’s why Proverbs 14:23 encourages me so much. It’s a statement of truth, an acknowledgment of the way God designed things to work, and a promise.

In the business world, much of my compensation has always been tied to commissions. When I sold cell phones back in 2002-2003, I operated on straight commission. That basically meant that if I didn’t sell anything, my family wouldn’t eat. By God’s grace, the Lord helped me to serve others (and my family) by selling a lot of cell phones. When I first moved in to the world of recruiting, I operated on a draw. That basically meant that the company would give me a base pay, but I would owe the company if I didn’t end up making placements. Whenever I owe something, I want to pay it back as quickly as I can (Romans 13:8 – “let no debt remain outstanding but the continual debt to love one another). By God’s grace, again, the Lord helped me to serve others (and my family) by making a lot of placements.

These days, I have a family of 6 to feed and provide for and much of my compensation is still tied to commissions. I pray for grace daily to be able to serve my company, our clients, the candidates I speak with, and my family by making placements in the ever-evolving world of Healthcare IT. Whenever I make a placement, everyone wins. The company gets a skilled individual they need to help their business succeed, the candidate is provided with an exciting opportunity in his or her new position, my company grows, and it’s a blessing to my family, as well. I love the name of our company, Provisions Group. It speaks to all of these things. Most importantly, it whispers the glory of the Ultimate Provider.

Is My Work Making Any Difference?

Some weeks, you see a lot of fruit from your labors. Other weeks, you don’t. I suppose it’s like that with any job or any profession. I’m certain it’s like that with moms. I don’t know anyone who works harder than my wife. She is a stay-at-home mom, which basically means she is continually exhausted from hard labor. She a school teacher, a nurse, a professional cook, an interior designer, a nanny, a homemaker, a chauffeur, an entertainer, and a professional cleaner to name a few of the multiple hats she wears each day. She doesn’t get paid a penny and the work never ceases. Sometimes she doesn’t feel like she is doing a good job. I think she’s doing an incredible job! But, I can imagine many moms wonder at times if all the work they do is making a difference.

That’s where we all need to cling to God’s Word and not our feelings. Here’s the truth. Here’s the reality. Here’s the certainty. Here’s the promise from on high:

“All hard work brings a profit” (Proverbs 14:23).

Your labor will be rewarded. You may not see it all today, but it will come. Don’t lose heart. Don’t give up. Don’t believe the lie that it’s all for naught. God sees. God knows. God rewards.

“Cast your bread upon the waters,
for you will find it after many days.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good. (Ecclesiastes 11:1;6).

As you enter into this weekend, you can rest with this assurance:

Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!

He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6)

You may have worked with a broken-heart this week, but the seeds you have sown will take root. The harvest will come. God has said it, and it will prove true:

ALL HARD WORK BRINGS A PROFIT.

Let’s go in to the weekend resting in the promises of our Great Provider, and may He bless all of our efforts from this week for His glory.

Upheld By Grace, Daily

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“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up. God is our salvation.” Psalm 68:19

Every day, we need to be upheld, supported, enabled, helped, empowered, borne up, sustained, and strengthened in our faith.

God does not give us all the grace we will ever need in one large sum. Rather, the grace that we need comes daily as we need the grace.

This is how dependent we are, and this is how gracious God is:

He daily bears us up.

Meditating on this verse, I am reminded of something Jerry Bridges wrote in his excellent book Is God Really In Control? Trusting God In A World of Hurt:

“I think of a physician whose son was born with an incurable birth defect, leaving him crippled for life. I asked the father how he felt when he, who had dedicated his life to treating the illnesses of other people, was confronted with an incurable condition in his own son. He told me his biggest problem was the tendency to capsule the next twenty years of his son’s life into that initial moment when he learned of his son’s condition. Viewed that way, the adversity was overwhelming. God does not give twenty years of grace today. Rather, He gives it day by day. God stores up goodness or grace for our times of adversity. We do not receive it before we need it, but we never receive it too late” (p. 106).

In this world, every day we are in need of grace. Jesus said, “Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Wonderfully, that grace is bestowed on us daily as we are in need.

Daily, we are dependent, and daily God provides.

God’s care for His people is constant. His grace is sufficient, and He is with us in our trouble and pain (Psalm 46:1). In every day and in every moment, He will sustain His people.

“Even to your old age I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.”

God, in Christ, will bear us up daily and bring us safely home to our desired haven. Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up!

“Nevertheless”

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“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.” Psalm 73:23-24

Nevertheless. What a word! What a thought! What a truth this verse contains!

Asaph’s Struggle

The psalmist, Asaph, has just explained how he was embittered in his soul and acting in a brutish manner, like a beast, before God (v. 21-22). He was doubting God’s Sovereignty and God’s wisdom, complaining in the bitterness of his soul (v. 13-14) and envious when he saw the prosperity of those who were not serving the Lord (v. 2-3).

Asaph had doubted God’s care and God’s control over the universe, and he had questioned God’s care and love for him personally.

God, in His mercy, opened the psalmist’s eyes toward the truths of His Sovereignty and final justice, and He gave the psalmist understanding and wisdom to discern the final end (v. 17-20).

After spending time in the sanctuary of God and receiving this fresh insight and perspective on life, Asaph was convicted of his sin. He was convinced of his pride and arrogance, his unbelief and sinful complaints (v. 21-22). He had doubted God’s love, doubted God’s control, doubted God’s care, and questioned His wisdom and power and rule over the universe.

In essence, Asaph had thought he could do a better job than God in ruling the universe with equity and justice. What an offense toward God!

And then we come to this one glorious word:

“Nevertheless”

    “Nevertheless, I am continually with you.”

    “Nevertheless, you hold my right hand.”

    “Nevertheless, you guide me with your counsel.”

    “Nevertheless, you will receive me to glory.”

What an ocean of grace is found in this one little word: nevertheless! I want to bathe my heart in it this evening! I want to enjoy every gentle wave of mercy it brings.

God’s love to me meets me right where I am. In the midst of all my sin and doubt, pride, selfishness, and complaining heart, I heard the Savior say, “Nevertheless, I am with you.” “Nevertheless, I forgive you.” “Nevertheless, I will guide you.” “Nevertheless, I will take you to eternal pleasures at my right hand.”

    “Never-the-less.”

Take heart, dear believer. If you are in Christ, this is the banner that hangs over your life, even in the midst of your fallenness and sin.

“Nevertheless, I am with you and I receive you.”

What a word! What a truth! What a Savior is Jesus, the Christ!